Bill Ritter (D)
Bill Ritter (D), who was raised on a Colorado farm with 11 brothers and sisters, is the new governor of Colorado. Ritter gained a reputation as a tough district attorney in Denver, where he backed gun control and, true to his Roman Catholic roots, spoke out against abortion.
Ritter, 50, beat Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), in a $6 million campaign. Beauprez, having garnered a perfect 100 from the American Conservative Union in 2005, was a favorite of the conservative right. Ritter appears poised to fit into the mold of other centrist Democrats in the West, such as Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Bill Richardson of New Mexico. He is a strong proponent of wind energy development and biofuels -- industries that would benefit Colorado. In addition, his immigration policies mirror those of other Western governors; he backs an expanded guest-worker program and opposes the wholesale deportation of millions of illegal immigrants.